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Newsletter 51 – Holiday planning

petra

Just two weeks now before I head off for a touring holiday in Jordan and Egypt, accompanied by my two best friends – I was going to say my two oldest friends, and whilst that might actually be correct, it doesn’t sound right.

I have an expanding walking pole for the rough terrain we are promised, a pair of hideous and very cheap plastic sandals for the Dead Sea (apparently it has a rocky bottom), a super-light day pack, and a cashmere shawl for cold desert nights when we camp in a tent, and a light scarf to throw over my head whenever it is needed. We are all a bit apprehensive about all those narrow steps down inside the tombs. I have been practising and have managed over 130 steps most days. I think it is the dark rather than the number that will prove the challenge. We have said to each other we will do what we can!

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What to do with too many tomatoes

What to do with too many tomatoes

The best use of too many tomatoes is to make some sort of sauce or passata for use in winter.  Simplest is to skin them, squeeze out most of seeds and roughly chop. Cook in a stockpot with some salt and when they have become a lovely mush, allow to cool, transfer to sealable freezer containers and freeze. I tip these frozen tomato iceblocks directly into casserole pots or soup pots, or else simmer and reduce in a frying pan with various additions such as a bit of red wine or sherry vinegar or capers, to make speedy pasta sauces. It is more fiddly to store the tomatoes in sealed jars as the sterilizing and sealing of the jars must be done properly.

Once you have made lots of sauce, here are a few other ideas for your abundant tomato crop!

Source:
The Cook’s Companion App and book.

What to do with too much zucchini

Zucchini Chips social link
Recently, I asked my social media community what crops were overflowing in their garden. And it seems that many of your gardens are abundant with zucchini! Tending a kitchen garden has wonderful benefits,  however sometimes a certain vegetable or fruit comes into season and suddenly we have too much of a good thing! Once you have exhausted your repertoire of dishes for that particular ingredient, and neighbours and friends are well stocked with gifted produce, what then?  I’ve put together some ideas and suggestions for your zucchini stockpile.

I will be working on some more guides like these in the future. If you have any questions or  suggestions, please email me at info@stephaniealexander.com.au

 

Sources:
The Cook’s Companion App and book.

Newsletter 50 – Colours and scents

 

Stephanie Alexander's garden

 

Refreshed and relaxed after my holiday I have returned to a riot of colour in my garden. The pink of the agastache and the dusty-salmon eupatorium are magnificent and thrusting 1.5 metres high, spiked here and there with deep-blue salvia, and the silvery tasselled tops of the grasses. I will have to hurry to make a final batch of pesto as the basil is starting to go to seed. Already there is a sense of the season changing. On my walk this morning the air was cool and there was a strong scent of damp eucalyptus.

Since returning home I have welcomed the opportunity to catch up with friends and family, to eat some memorable dishes, even some I have cooked myself, and to attend events. Most recently I made two visits to the National Gallery of Victoria to admire the very varied special works that are part of the NGV Triennial. I urge any art lover to visit  the NGV International to enjoy some amazing art. The Triennial continues until mid-April so there is time to plan for it.

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Six chocolate & berry Valentine’s Day desserts

chocolate

Romantic desserts usually seem to involve chocolate, berries or both! Here are a few favourites, from my sister Diana’s famous chocolate cake, to a fresh tasting strawberry shortcake. I claim to be the first restaurateur to host a Valentine’s Day menu in Melbourne, more than 20 years ago in 1986. I searched my archives and found the original handwritten menu! You can read it in my book, The Cook’s Table, which also features a contemporary romantic menu suitable for any occasion with your loved one.

 

Sources:
The Cook’s Companion App and book.
The Cook’s Table